Fellow blogger ďBellerĒ got the ball rolling yesterday with his playoff picks. Seems like a good idea to me -- opening day is two days away! -- so I figured weíd close out the week with some O-Zone predictions. Weíll tackle the AL today.
2. New York
5. Tampa Bay
I know people will call me a homer for picking Boston, but trust me, thatís not the case -- the Red Sox infuriate me to no end and Iíd rather not pick them. Nevertheless, Iím siding with the Sox here because Iím worried about the Yankees starting pitching. With Wang and Pettitte already ailing and Pavano a sure bet to come down with restless leg syndrome or something, Iím giving Boston the edge. Ö Baltimore over Toronto will catch peopleís attention, but I like how the Orioles fortified their bullpen. Meanwhile, Iím worried about Torontoís pitching. The Brandon League injury is a big blow to the bullpen, and I donít see how any team can win in the AL East by trotting out Gus Chacin and Tomo Ohka every fifth day.
5. Kansas City
Best division in baseball. Any of the top four teams has a chance. Heck, you could reverse the order I predict the top four to finish, and I wouldnít argue too vociferously. Ö Cleveland is becoming a chic pick, but Iím sticking with the Tigers. Detroitís young pitching should continue to improve, and adding Gary Sheffield gives this team the big bopper it needs. Ö If Francisco Liriano were healthy, Iíd probably be picking the Twins. But Iíve got the Twins finishing fourth due to concerns about their pitching. Carlos Silva, Sidney Ponson and Ramon Ortiz do not round out a championship rotation, and Iím not sure the Twins pitching prospects will be ready for prime time the second theyíre called up. Ö In a bold move, Iíve chosen the Royals to finish last.
Anaheim is the best team, but the Angels are already battling the injury bug. Itís going to be close between them and the Aís. I like Oakland to win the division by a couple of games. Ö I was looking for a reason to not pick Seattle last. Then I saw Rey Ordonez made the team. Maybe next year the Mís can dig up Rafael Belliard.